Jozy Altidore an attacking alternative for beleaguered Burnley?
Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore seems bewildered by apparent interest from Premier League strugglers Burnley, who are 5/4 favourites with Coral to finish the season bottom.
Despite previous comments that hinted at leaving the Stadium of Light if Black Cats boss Gus Poyet could not guarantee him more playing time, Altidore insists he has “never heard anything” in relation to a mooted move to Turf Moor.
The USA target man has captained his country this year, with Landon Donovan retiring from internationals and usual skipper Clint Dempsey a late call-up for the recent round of friendlies, but is benched on Wearside.
Altidore, who has netted just twice in 63 Premier League appearances across former club Hull City and Sunderland, is playing second fiddle to Scotland’s Steven Fletcher and last season’s survival hero Connor Wickham. His woeful return of five goals in 73 games across all competitions in England makes it easy to see why he is out of favour.
But it also begs the question why Burnley would be interested in him anyway? They are experienced their own goal shortage in the absence of injured duo Danny Ings and Sam Vokes, whose strike partnership fired the Clarets to promotion.
To Sean Dyche, Altidore could be a pet project, but there is an element of Russian resolute about undertaking that when Burnley’s Premier League status already looks under serious threat. History is not on the east Lancashire outfit’s side either.
When they last graced the top flight, the Clarets’ stay was just one season. Their then-manager, Owen Coyle, was poached by local rivals Bolton Wanderers midway through the campaign, and a similar approach may be taken by teams watching any players that show potential.
In an attempt to ease the goal burden on Ings and Vokes, as well as cover for the latter’s serious injury, Dyche delved into the summer transfer window by adding three new forwards. George Boyd, Lukas Jutkiewicz and Marvin Sordell came in, but all are yet to break their Burnley ducks.
To most, including Altidore himself, it is obvious his career has stalled, and once again he failed to deliver on the promise showed when playing in continental Europe. At AZ Alkmaar, far from a fashionable side in the Dutch Eredivisie, he broke the 20 and 30-goal barriers across all competitions in his two seasons.
Should he rediscover that kind of form, be it at Sunderland, or following a proposed winter window switch Burnley, who are 2/1 chances to defy the critics and stay up, then Altidore could play a huge part in making such history. It would be a huge gamble by Dyche, though.